Worker killed on 
rig was 
GJ man

The man killed in an accident at a drilling rig near Parachute on Tuesday was from Grand Junction, the Garfield County Coroner’s Office reports.

Shane Hill, 34, died instantaneously when a fitting blew and struck him in the head, Deputy Coroner Thomas Walton said.

The accident occurred on a Cyclone Drilling rig working for WPX Energy up the Parachute Creek Valley. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was on the scene investigating the incident Wednesday through Friday.

Cyclone Drilling has not returned calls seeking comment.

A fundraiser for Hill’s family will be held today in association with a disc golf tournament from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverbend Park in Palisade. Hill was an avid disc golfer, said Rock Cesario, an organizer of the tournament.

Worker dangers associated with oil and gas development have been receiving increasing scrutiny from regulators and media as drilling has spread to more parts of the country.

“Job gains in oil and gas and construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in a news release last year.

Herb Gibson, director of OSHA’s Denver Area Office, said Friday, “We want to stress to all employers in the oil and gas industry that everyone needs to have comprehensive safety and health programs to address safety and health hazards so serious accidents and fatalities don’t occur.”

In April the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 529 people died nationally while working in oil and gas extraction from 2007-11, including 19 in Colorado.

Contact with objects and equipment accounted for 26 of the 112 fatalities that occurred nationwide in 2011, “with the majority of these resulting from being struck by object or equipment,” the bureau said in a fact sheet.

In 2012, OSHA cited Cyclone Drilling with two repeat and five serious safety and health standard violations in North Dakota, pointing to fall, electrical and fire hazards. One of the repeat violations arose because of a previous violation relating to an eye wash station in the Meeker area in 2010.

OSHA proposed $65,600 in penalties but under a settlement Cyclone paid $27,400 and several of the citations were dropped.

Cyclone was fined $7,000 for safety violations related to a well fire that burned a rig drilling a Williams well in 2008 east of Parachute. No one was injured in that incident.

It also was fined $2,720 for a 2012 violation near Meeker, more than $8,000 for violations outside Rifle in 2011, $2,040 for a 2011 Meeker-area violation, and $5,355 for 2010 violations outside Meeker, according to OSHA records.


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